THE first round of the North Coast Basketball Shield was played in Yamba at the Raymond Laurie Sports Centre last Sunday.
Four towns are represented in both boys' and girls' divisions in the North Coast Under-12 Shield, with Ballina, Lismore, Grafton and the Lower Clarence Valley all challenging to accumulate points over four carnival days playing at each town's venue.
First games started at 9am with the girls taking to the court with Grafton and Lower Clarence starting the day's proceedings.
Grafton skipped away with the first game with good play from all girls, especially Alex Dahl for Grafton.
Monique Laurie for Lower Clarence managed to score eight points out of Lower Clarence team's total of 14 for her first game of basketball.
Next, the under 12 boys took to the court and again Grafton and Lower Clarence went head to head.
In this game, Lower Clarence managed to take the win with all boys fighting hard for the ball.
Max and Jack Leary combined well with Noah Durocher and Billy Bolte.
The Grafton boys showed the fight expected from Grafton lads and with coach Robbie Blinman at the helm will see some big improvement over the length of the tournament, with all players hustling hard for the ball.
Jordan Gallagher and Tyler Bingham shot the ball well for Grafton, managing two points each.
Over the course of the day, the Lismore team in the girls' division set the standard and won three out of three games to take an early lead in the overall point score for the shield.
In the boys, it was gradually building between two teams, Ballina and the Lower Clarence (which was a pleasant surprise for the Lower Clarence officials).
Ballina managed to snatch a win from the Lower Clarence side in a high-intensity game in which the Lower Clarence boys for their first lot of games handled the pressure well. Ballina finished with three from three wins, with Lower Clarence finishing with two wins out of the three games for the day.
Cameron Varco, Alby Popko and Lachy Dougherty all played great basketball for the Lower Clarence Boys against a tough Ballina outfit. The Lower Clarence girls saved their best until last, winning against Ballina after all players picked up the intensity on the defensive end.
Alexa Leary scored 14 out of 18 points for Lower Clarence with Alayna Shankland, Samantha Harris and Orchard Knight all playing well and picking up some steals and any loose basketball for the Lower Clarence side.
In the final game of the day, the Grafton boys managed to secure a 16 point draw against Lismore and all teams went away from the day having had a great time.
The Lower Clarence basketball sides will be training and playing games on Tuesday afternoons at the Raymond Laurie Sports Centre to get ready for the next round of the under-12s North Coast Basketball Shield in Grafton on June 3.